Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Nook - Let's Make Some Great Art

Let's Make Some Great Art by Marion Deuchar:

This is one of the gifts our DD received for Christmas from us - we thought she would like it because she loves to draw and she's taking an art class, so it's just her thing.  Over her holiday break from school, she complained of being bored, so I suggested she get out her art book, which kept her busy for hours!

I know coloring books can be fun for kids, but I've always disliked that there is no real creativity involved.  The kids pick the color, are usually praised for staying in the lines, and that's all there is to it.  I don't buy these kinds of books for our kids, but rather give them plain, white copy paper whenever they want - a clean, empty slate for them to decide what to make.  I love the open-ended nature of plain white paper and so do they, because we go through a lot.

This book, Let's Make Some Great Art, is also a very open-ended approach to creating art.  The author gives you some ideas and starting points, but that's it.  The rest is up to the artist.  Our DD loves drawing her own comics, so it's no surprise that she found the "make up your own comic strip" spread and did that first.  Only the title is provided by the author ("The Missing Leg") and then 13 big boxes of different shapes follow, for your own comic.  Our DD did a story about a zombie!

There's a lot of different types of art projects in the book, besides just drawing.  One page gives you instructions on how to do a color experiment (involving a mirror, a glass bowl, paper, scissors, tape & a flashlight).  Another page shows you how to make a cool paper mobile.  There are a few pages with creative art using your fingerprints.  There are lots of activities using shapes and lines in unique ways.

I also love that the author incorporates some art history into the book.  There's a page on Jackson Pollock, for instance - some facts about the artist and an example of his style of work.  Then, there's a project on how to "make your own Jackson Pollock."  Some other artists (and projects inspired by) featured are Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee & Henri Matisse, to name a few.  There's a page on how the ancient Egyptians produced the color purple (many, many snails were crushed).  There's a few pages instructing the artist to draw on a plinth (draw something modern on this plinth, draw something made of glass, etc.).  What's a plinth?  This might be the first time a young artist is introduced to the item/word, all in a fun way.

And that's how the book goes - tons of fun projects (and facts) about art.  Anyone, adult or child, who loves to make art would enjoy this book.  In fact, our other DD already wants this book for herself, so I think we'll be purchasing it again (and then probably again for Little Dude). 

Stop back later this week to see some art projects that DD did in her art class this Fall!


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